Showing posts with label Sarah Gadon. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sarah Gadon. Show all posts

31 January 2013

Antiviral Review

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Take a look at the modern world and it’s difficult to deny we’re in a certain amount of trouble. Pick up any magazine, flick through any social networking sites, and you’ll see we have celebrity on the brain. Brandon Cronenberg (son of cult director, David Cronenberg) has chosen this sordid affair as a launching point for his impressive debut: Antiviral.

                Syd March (Caleb Landry Jones) works at the Lucas Clinic, a multi-million dollar institute that specialises in a very particular product: viruses that have been extracted from celebrities. In a world where celebrity obsession has reached dizzying levels, these diseases are the most intimate way for fans to connect to their idols. Syd infects himself with the diseases in order to smuggle them out the clinic and sell them on the black market, but after infecting himself with a disease that goes on to kill superstar Hannah Geist, he is forced to race against time in a desperate attempt to unravel the mystery of what is happening to his body.

                I can’t actually remember the last time a debut feature was so poignant, so keyed into what’s going on in the modern world. Brandon has obviously inherited his father’s keen eye for social commentary along with a vivid sense of style. Dependency on gossip, desire for more than just autographs, and the tide of nonsense crap that we consume daily in our desire to know more and more about glorified wannabes, it’s all here. Cronenberg flaunts his wit when he shows just how all this madness will end up, his script proves inventive time and time again; the faces given to viruses in order to determine their character, edibles made from celeb stem cells, cyber strippers, you get the drift. It’s a bleak and unsettling affair.

                The film looks dead sharp too; the cinematography, particularly the miserable palate, enforces a truly bleak dream-like world where the only real colour amidst the droll is blood-red. Bare minimum white-washed sets dominated by unnervingly large celeb posters are to be found everywhere in Cronenberg’s world. There’s some genius moments of body horror here reminiscent of early Cronenberg Sr; mechanical-human crossovers are unnerving viewing but if any real achievement is made, its making blood genuinely horrific. The parasites unseen are where our fears should really be lying, and after watching Syd slowly succumb, you’ll probably start noticing how few people bother to cover their mouths when they cough.

                Landry Jones deserves praise for a fantastic performance, one which becomes more and more desperate as the film progresses and hence, more riveting to watch.  Malcolm McDowell sneaks in as a Doctor interested in Syd’s regression, at one point admitting to him ‘I’m afraid you’ve become involved with something sinister’, surely  scoring the best horror one-liner thus far this year. It’s a wonder it’s not on the poster.


By the end of this ride you may be left wondering if the plot packs enough wallop, but in the face of the concept, style, and discourse, narrative can be excused ever-so-slightly. This is not only an impressive debut, but an important one, especially depressing when you stop to think, actually…this isn’t that far-fetched.

SCOTT CLARK

★★★★

Rating:15
UK Release Date: 1st February 2013 (Cinema) 11th February 2013 (DVD)
Director:
Cast
Buy:Antiviral [DVD]

6 November 2012

Cosmopolis DVD Review

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There’s some kind of law about using the word existential when reviewing a David Cronenberg movie, you sort of have to really. So let’s get that out the way early on. What we’re dealing with here are some very grand themes including sex, death, capitalism, emotional dysfunction and detachment.

Based on the 2003 Don DeLillo novel, Cosmopolis sees Eric Packer moving through streets of an unstable Manhattan, shielded inside his cork lined limo for a haircut he’s convinced he needs. All the while his downfall is being engineered behind the scenes by the very capitalist system he helped to create? Or is it?

The film itself has a futuristic retro feel to it; the towering glass and chrome of Manhattan take on a menacing look as Packer slides through the streets in the silent cocoon of his soundproofed limo.

Better known for his visceral horror, Cronenberg here manages to invoke a kind of creeping dread that permeates the film. The only difference this time is that the danger is intangible, created by the likes of Packer those like him who have been responsible for the financial crash of the capitalist system. They are the de facto rulers of the world, as they control the data on which capitalism rests. Conversely, the world outside of his window erupts into violent riots by the disenfranchised masses her helped create. It’s a startling juxtaposition.

Pattinson’s performance is superb. His bleak detachment from reality is icy cold yet he manages to get the nuances just right. He could so easily have overdone this character and descended into a caricature of manic ticks and gestures. There’s also a long list of cameos from some of the greats as they enter and exit Packer’s life, leaving behind them some exposition as they go.

In summary, Cosmopolis is an extremely cerebral film; heavy on the dialogue with a gnawing sense of dread you can’t quite put your finger on. It often treads a fine line between film as social commentary and entertainment but for the most part doesn’t take itself too seriously.

This is Cronenberg back to his best.

Vikki Mysercough

★★★★

Rating:15
DVD/BD Release Date: 12 November 2012 (UK)
Directed By:David Cronenberg
Cast: Robert Pattinson, Juliette Binoche, Sarah Gadon, Paul Giamatti, Kevin Durand
Buy Cosmopolis:Blu-ray/DVD